Monday, March 19, 2012

Watchmen: Chapter III - page 18


Panel 1:  The “Black Freighter” is back and its caption box:  “The Freighter’s murderous onslaught had surprised us,” is a comment on what just happened to Dr. Manhattan overlaid on the image of the newest edition of Nova Express, which has the Dr. Manhattan/Cancer story as its front page.

Panel 2:  This scene is a reversed point of view of page 11, panel 2 with Dan and Laurie in the background.

The Freighter’s caption refers to being “blasted to fragments,” which is a reference to Dr. Manhattan’s origin as well as his response to Doug Roth’s attacks of teleporting everyone out of the studio.  It continues with the statement “I alone survived upon my remote atoll,” which refers to Dr. Manhattan standing alone in the studio afterward.

Panel 3:  More juxtaposition as Bernie the news vendor derides his wife while the Freighter’s caption reads:  “I thought of my family: vulnerable, unsuspecting.”  This statement also foreshadows the death and destruction that is coming at the end of all this.

Panel 4:  The Freighter’s caption, “I cursed God and wept. . .” plays over the scene of the younger Bernie reading the comic as it begins to rain, a single drop (a tear drop from heaven) splattering on his page.

Panel 5:  The caption reads, “. . . what use his tears, if his help was denied me?” is placed over this scene where the rain is coming harder and the young boy asks the news vendor if he’ll lend his cap to him, and the older Bernie will not.  So we get the tears signifying the rain and the “help denied” in the form of Bernie’s refusal to lend his cap to the boy.

Panels 6-7:   These two panels have the ominous symbol of the fallout shelter from across the street as their focus.  Within the dialogue and the captions of the “Black Freighter” we have remarks like “. . . you shouldn’t rely on help from anybody . . .” and “. . . a man stands alone,” as well as “. . . I understood the true breadth of the word ‘isolation,’” all punctuated by Bernie the news vendor’s comment, “All alone.  Inna final analysis.” 

Not only is there an ironic twist being played in the fact that if there is a nuclear attack, they would all need to find assistance in a fallout shelter somewhere, but there’s also a symbolism that if something of that magnitude were to occur, we would need to come together in order to survive.  In the end, if we are alone, we won’t survive.

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